Saturday, October 29, 2011

Shooting Schedules Are Fluid

Found out last night that one of our actors wasn't able to get off work for the shoot tomorrow. Since said actor is in every scene we were planning on shooting tomorrow, this puts us in something of a bind.

There are only two scenes, in fact, that remain to be shot that doesn't feature said actor. So we are going to push for shooting those scenes, as well as one scene with the actor early in the morning so they can still get to work.

I'm not complaining, but this -- more than genetics -- is why I'm bald.


While we had secured the location for the scenes we still need to shoot, we had secured them for a different day. We weren't sure if we would have access to them tomorrow. But we just word "that'd be fine." So tomorrow will be quite productive.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Restlessness Before the Storm

In the musical Nine there is a song called "My Husband Makes Movies." It has been playing on a loop in my head all week long. Weeks like this make me love my wife all the more. Weeks like these make me appreciate her so much more. Weeks like these make me feel sorry for her.

My husband makes movies.
To make them he lives a kind of dream.

I don't sleep well during production. My brain, which is often a constant playground for thoughts, ideas, scenes, characters, and dialog, absolutely refuses to shut off. I lay in bed, wanting to sleep, but story boarding next weekend's scenes instead.

Some men catch fish, some men tie flies,
Some earn their living baking bread.
My husband, he goes a little crazy
Making movies instead.

The lack of sleep makes me cynical -- which, for the project is okay. The Ruffians is a very cynical and judgmental look at the world around me. It's less okay in my day-to-day life. People annoy me. Society frustrates me. I snap at people. And the lack of sleep makes me a little less guarded and I show me true emotions a little too often, a little too raw. I find myself wanting to lock myself in my car and scream at the top of my lungs, just to see what emotions come out and see what the root of my frustration is.

My husband makes movies.
To make them, he makes himself obsessed.
He goes for weeks on end without a bit of rest,
No other way can he achieve his level best.

I often find myself envious of people who can just go home and do nothing. I wonder what it must be like to get off work, eat dinner, and then relax. Because I don't. I can't. My brain won't let me. I look to the day with equal portions of excitement and fear when my brain relaxes and allows life to happen without trying to make sense of it in a bigger context, or reap interesting nuggets out of it for the current or next script.

Some men read books, some shine their shoes.
Some retire early when they've seen the evening news.
My husband only rarely comes to bed,
My husband makes movies instead.

It's torture, to be sure. But I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

McKay: More

A great way to make the money you need to afford all those wonderful toys is to take on side projects. Observe: The second video in a series that I wrote, directed, and edited for McKay Used Books.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

the bride of episode 5

Two teaser images from episode 5. They are not colour corrected, so expect them to look ever-so-slightly different in the final episode. ;)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Scheduling Episodes 4 & 5

Scheduling might be my least favorite part of the filming process. It might get better, I suppose, when I have money to throw at actors and crew members as incentive for them to leave their jobs, but since I cannot do that, I have to schedule the shoots around everyone's school and work schedule.

One nice thing about episodes 4 and 5 of The Ruffians is that not only are they a two-part singular story, but they use all the same locations. So instead of trying to shoot this in chronological order (by which I mean focusing entirely on episode 4, completing it, and then moving on to episode 5), I am dividing the schedule up by location. We'll be shooting both episodes simultaneously. It's going to be a bit of a challenge come the edit, but it'll ultimately be worth it -- I think.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Breaking Bad & 50/50

Just when I was starting to feel good about myself as writer, I watched Breaking Bad's fourth season finale.

Big mistake.

It is a perfect episode. It is absolutely flawless. There's nothing anybody could do to make it a better hour of programming. The characters, the script, the acting, the special effects, the story, the plot, the twists, the conclusion and the set-up for next season . . .

It humbled me. I know that artists are all different -- because we, as people, are all different. Present a group a problem and each person in that group will try to solve it in a different way. Give a group of writers a story idea, each writer is going to come up with their own way to tell that story. Sure, some structures will be the same, some content might be similar, there may even be identical dialog. But the pacing will be different. The tone will be different. The perspective, the reason, the conclusion, the moral, will all be different.

That is the only solace one can have in the shadow of an episode like "Face Off." It humbled me -- humbled me and challenged me.

I can be that good.

I know it.


I followed this episode up with a trip to the local cinema, where I took in the equally superb 50/50. Tonight just a cavalcade of good writing and excellent entertainment.

The gauntlet has been thrown down.

Challenge accepted.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Profound Sense of Accomplishment

I like it when a day ends with a profound sense of accomplishment. I don't have enough of them. I have so many days that, at the end of, feel like not enough was accomplished -- or worse yet, were a complete waste.

Working backwards, tonight we had a costume fitting. Bri will be playing Marlena in the next two episodes of The Ruffians and she will be in a wedding dress for most of her screen time (spoilers!). We found a wedding dress for her (thanks to my wonderful co-worker Heather), but Bri somehow always seems to be a little bit smaller every time we see her. She says she's not shrinking, and we are inclined to not believe her, as size can be a relative thing and if she's not getting smaller every time we see her, we're getting bigger. So Kelly had to resize the dress. Bri came over, tried it on, Kelly pinned it where it needed pinning and not an hour later, we had a perfect dress for Marlena.

An hour before Bri came over, I made dinner. It wasn't a huge deal, just black beans and rice with chicken, but the sense of victory over the kitchen cannot be denied.

Leading up to dinner, I was working on a new script -- well, not a new-new script. But a new-ish script. A new script based on an old outline. I wrote an outline for a story that I'm still quite fond of, but I abandoned it upon the release of Inception. There are some very clear similarities between the two and I shook my fist at Christopher Nolan, a little angry that he beat me to it and a little in awe that we had such similar ideas. But with some time having passed, I'm ready to give the story a shot. It is quite different from Inception -- if in nothing else the tone and overall story -- and by the time it gets made, nobody will be comparing it to Inception (ha, as if anyone would have ever).

Fast-forwarding in time to the point after Bri left, I watched the magnificent German film Downfall. I haven't set so still, so enraptured by a movie since . . . well, Inception. It's a fantastic film that everyone should see.

Which brings me to now. I'm taking a moment out from storyboarding the next episodes of Ruffians to share all this with you. I don't do this to gloat or boast, but to share what a good day for me looks like.